Historical story

Erotic life of pre-war gays [18+]

Centuries-old specialists consistently distinguished between "homosexuality" and "pederasty". The former was for them a kind of perversion or disease independent of human will. The second term was only the tendency to anal sex. And they agreed that the majority of homosexuals felt a deep disgust towards pederasty understood in this way.

Magnus Hirschfeld, one of the fathers of modern sexology and the first great researcher of sexual orientations, was inherently restrained in his judgments. In this case, however, he had no doubts. He wrote that "pederasty has nothing to do with true homosexuality." The same opinion was expressed by Polish doctors from the beginning of the 20th century, who were also the first defenders of homosexual rights in our country:Leon Wachholz and Antoni Mikulski. They both cited real life examples.

One thousand sexual partners

In Mikulski's work ( Homosexuality from the stand of medicine and law , 1920), the story of "a certain homosexual" appears. "Of the twenty-seven men he had intercourse with, only one was pederasty, and of the nine hundred and sixty-five men with whom his friend had intercourse, fifty-seven claimed pederasty "- reported the author.

Antoni Mikulski. One of the first researchers of homosexuality in Poland, and at the same time - a defender of people with a different orientation (public domain).

Although the nearly 1,000 number of sexual partners seemed overstated to him, he did not intend to reject the entire relationship. He simply read the homosexuals' love of Kabbalah in this number. And also their tendency to "portray their deviation as very widespread."

Wachholz chose a more down-to-earth example. In the brochure entitled Critical remarks on uranium sexual sense he quoted an excerpt from the diary of an ordinary urning (that is, according to the pre-war vocabulary - a homosexual). Apparently, he wrote:“There was no real pederasty in all these relations… I would be disgusted with such a man. I consider all of them degenerate, I loathe and loathe them ”.

Coitus per os, or maybe in anum?

Paweł Klinger tried to organize the data on the pages of the best-selling guide Vita sexualis published in 1930. The truth about human sex life. It was probably based on the research of Magnus Hirschfeld, who over the years managed to reach as many as ten thousand German urns. "Out of 100 homosexuals - 40% find sexual satisfaction in mutual masturbation, 40% practice coitus per os [or oral sex - ed. KJ], and finally the remaining 12% use coitus inter femora [femoral intercourse - ed. KJ] ”explained Klinger.

Only 8% of urns in his opinion had anal intercourse . Or rather - practiced immissio penis in anum because it was one of those terms that in 1930, even in a textbook on sexology, it was not appropriate to write in Polish.

The quoted numbers did not raise any doubts in the author. He didn't take into account that for years it was just immissio in anum and not being homosexual itself was punishable by law in most codes.

Honesty or freedom?

In the Second Polish Republic, the regulations from the time of captivity were in force until 1932. In free Poznań, pederasts were punished in the same way as in the German partition. In prison for as long as the court deems it appropriate. In Warsaw it was like during the Tsar. Also prison, for not less than three months. Only in the late Galicia, apart from men, also women could fear punishment. Elsewhere, only men were targeted, provided that one specific sexual act was proven.

"Study of the Nude of a Man" by Pius Weloński (public domain).

Perhaps the surveys conducted by sexologists were anonymous, but they still required a clear statement on this point:yes, I am breaking the law. Probably not everyone was ready to make such a declaration. Social associations also played a role. Although Polish specialists have long called for tolerance and understanding towards other types of love, tabloid journalists did little to deal with it.

At the thought of urning, they saw male prostitutes, dingy brothels, and anal sex in the dark downtown streets. All this, of course, in a sensational sauce of crime and sanctimonious indignation. This is exactly the vision of reality they conveyed to millions of their readers ...


The article was based on the literature and materials collected by the author during the work on the book The age of hypocrisy. Sex and erotica in pre-war Poland . This book was published as the first book under the brand of "Curiosities of history". Buy with a discount on empik.com.

In "Era of Hypocrisy" you will read not only about the customs and fears of pre-war Polish gays, but also about how they were perceived by society. About the forgotten episode of the struggle for the right to homosexual marriage, about the most famous Polish lesbian, and even about the ruling in Poland - at least in the opinion of conservative journalists - "the fashion for homosexuality".